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Review by Martin Abela
The final show of my weekend Bob roadtrip was at Deer Creek music
centre in Noblesville, Indian, just outside of Indianapolis. Savvy local
promoters booked the Dylan/Lesh show the night before the start of a three
night stand by Phish.
The result was a huge gathering of young Dead-heads. Farms around the
amphitheatre were charging $25 for camping, and filling their fields with
tents. Young tie-died fans were walking the country road into Deer Creek,
forcing drivers to be extra alert.
In the parking area before the show, the dead-head contingent
converged on the area close to the fence by the entrance,
forming a makeshift "Shakedown Street". Vendors set up outside
their cars, or simply on coolers selling various wares.
Premium beer such as Newcastle Brown Ale, Sid Smith's,
Guinness or even Moosehead could be purchased for
$2 a bottle. Glass pipes ranging from thumb-sized to
arm-sized were offered for sale, and occasionally in use.
I overheard one shirtless young man say quietly several
times that he was looking for "Guido - anybody know where
I can find Guido". I suspect this was ryhming slang for
what he was really looking for.
Those with munchies could purchase wraps, falafel, pizzas,
or grilled-cheese sandwiches. More adventurous souls could pick
up "goo-balls", or "potent ganjha cookies" for $3 a pop.
The vendors were also part performers, with cries of
"get it here, ya know ya want it", or "buy it now,
you know you're gonna be hungry later".
The carnival atmosphere outside was a good preview of
the mood inside the amphitheatre. Shortly after the announced
start time of 7pm, I sat in my assigned seat in row L off to
the side long enough to see that there were plenty of empty seats up
front. I saw some familiar faces, so I casually moved up,
and sat near the centre four rows from the front.
People in the first three rows had moved up in front of
the rail, including Edwin, with whom I have been travelling.
I did notice that security was asking some people for tickets and
sending them back so I was careful. Bob and the band came out
just after the "..please welcome.." intro, and started into
Duncan and Brady, which I had never heard before. Sounds like
a great song, with nice harmonies.
However, I could not listen carefully, since the seats around
me were filling up. One security attendant brought ticket
holders to the seat I was visiting. I got up and smiled at
him as I made room for the people he was escorting. He
smiled back, which I took for a good sign. I slipped behind
him, and casually walked up to the front. The first three rows
were still empty but those seated there were invited to stand at
the rail. I found a spot right in the centre, and stood behind
a couple of enthusiastic fans. I expected a tap on the shoulder,
but none came, so I was set with a prime location for the rest
of Bob's show.
Edwin and I had been hoping for a more varied set list than
the two previous nights, and we were not disappointed.
For the second song, Bob started into Song to Woody.
"Hello Woody Guthrie, I wrote you this song".. prompted shivers
for me, and great applause from the audience. Bob's vocals
were perfect, as he sang a careful, sombre version.
It was beautiful, and very moving. Amazingly, this
song is almost forty years old - older than most
of the people in the audience tonight!
I had been hoping for Visions of Johanna in the third spot,
since it occasionally shows up there, but as he has all
weekend, Bob played Desolation Row. He is putting more
effort into this song - enunciating the lyrics carefully,
and accentuating them with varied facial expressions.
Edwin, who has heard this song many times, believes the
versions we heard this weekend are among Bob's best.
Bob really showed off in Tangled Up In Blue. He
took advantage of this set-list regular to show off his
guitar work, playing lead, and really hamming it up
on the solos. As he played, he would bend his knees
smile, and knock his knees together a few times, to
cheers from the crowd.
He laid his guitar on the floor and picked up
the harmonica for TUIB. His harmonica playing was
demonstrative, with one arm extended, holding the
looped microphone cord, and the other hand holding
the harmonica up to his face, knees bent, and
moving along with the music. The audience loved it!
The serious Searching For A Soldier's Grave was
next. This song quiets the crowd, since it
deserves careful listening, not dancing. Good thing,
since the I needed a rest after TUIB. It is a
pleasure to watch Bob sing this, since he clearly
takes it so seriously.
Country Pie has become the standard opener for
the electric portion of the set. With good reason,
I suppose, since the simple, buoyant lyrics contrast
nicely with "Soldier's Grave". "Love that Country Pie!"
The wicked electric guitar picking from Charlie
Sexton really got people moving. The group of us
in the front were having a lot of fun, dancing and some
even singing along.
The joyous atmosphere by the rail added to my
enjoyment of the concert greatly. Women dancing
seductively, with all their attention focused on
Bob. Edwin, moving and pointing at him. Christine,
over on Bob's left, with a beautiful grin on her face
most of the time. Bob returned all this attention with
eye contact, moving along the row, occasionally nodding
or winking at one person or another. He really
plays off the reaction of the crowd. Being enthusiastic
at the rail does result in a better show from Bob.
At previous shows, I have seen Bob stare with a grim
look on his face at security people sending dancers
back to their seats. My impression is that he wants to
see people up front dancing, enjoying the music, and
having a good time.
Next up was another surprise, Positively Fourth Street.
Bob took less care with the lyrics here, occasionally
slurring, or chopping the words out. He sang this
song rather quietly, with less bitterness than the
Since Bob had been making eye contact with
those of us in the front, I wondered if he would
be staring into someone's eyes as he sang the classic
cynical line "what a drag it is to see you". However,
his eyes were averted, staring down as he sang this line.
Very considerate of him, I think.
Bob put more enthusiasm into the next song,
Maggie's Farm. A big hit with the crowd, Bob
reacted by moving a lot as he played. The
repetitive "I ain't gonna...." lines were accompanied
by varied facial expressions.
After "Maggie's", Bob made a comment (not sure of the
exact word's) about a couple of friend's being here,
since they are playing in town. I understand he was talking
about members of Asleep at the Wheel, who were standing
just off stage. However, they did not come out and
The highlight of the night was Drifter's Escape.
Bob goes all out on this powerful performance. Each
line of the song, delivered loud and aggressively by
Bob, is alternated with an equally aggressive, wailing
guitar line from Charlie. When Bob picks
up the harmonica, the same pattern is there.
A harmonica line, alternated with Charlie Sexton's fine
guitar work. A classic - I hope this is still on
the set list next week when Bob makes it up to Toronto.
When Bob introduces the band, he has been making
the habit of including a joke at the expense of his
drummer, David Kemper. Tonight it was
(paraphrasing again - may have the detail wrong):
"David went to a restaurant today, and asked them
if they served crabs. They said 'sit down right there, we
serve anybody'!" The punch line was accompanied by
Bob opening his eyes wide, mugging like a vaudeville
comedian. Can't wait for that HBO special!
While singing the next song, Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat,
Bob was pointing and smiling towards someone down to his
right. Not sure who, but there was an attractive blonde
woman down that way. Bob seems to have a way with the
After "Leopard-Skin", Bob and the band stood at
attention, and watch while we cheered and applauded.
Larry Campbell moved first, stepped behind the group,
and headed back stage. The others followed.
When they came back out for the encore, they opened
with Bob's most recent single (until the fall... right??)
Things Have Changed. Good response - a lot of people
have heard this, even though it did not even come
close to the top twenty.
Like A Rolling Stone was played with enthusiasm.
A great crowd pleaser. I glanced back, and I could see
people standing and dancing a long way back, even up
on the grass. A lot of people know this song, and
The sole acoustic song in the encore was
"Girl Of the North Country". Perhaps Bob is dusting
it off for his one Canadian stop on the tour next
week. A nice song, performed well.
Joanne, a young enthusiastic Bob fan who had been
dancing next to me, confided that she hoped to hear
her namesake song, Visions of Johanna. I told her
I love that song, and wanted to hear it too.
I suggested that we would be disappointed, and that
Bob will play Highway 61. About ten seconds later,
Bob wailed out that classic biblical reference "God said to
Abraham, kill me your son".
I made a believer out of Joanne. She was thrilled
that I called it correctly. She wailed, pointed at me with
both arms as she danced, and then high-fived
me a few times. I did not have the heart to tell her
that Bob played it all weekend, and the previous night
in the same slot. So I was not exactly Nostradamus, but
I am not above trying to impress a pretty girl. Well, all
in good fun anyway!
Although he plays Highway 61 a lot, I never tire of
hearing it. It is a classic song, and Bob puts a lot into
it. Since it is the last song of the night, I do not hesitate
to expend all available energy and dance all-out to it.
Perhaps Bob noticed - I did the same thing at Bonner
Springs, and Sandstone, along with tonight. Whether or
not he did, I sure had a good time.
That was the end of a great night. Comfortable warm
weather (unlike the oppresive heat of Bonner Springs),
occasional cool breezes, and an enthusiastic group of
people in front of the rail made for a good time.
Bob put on a great show for us, maybe
the best of the 17 times I have seen him. Perhaps he
can top this when I see him next in Toronto. We shall
On the road on I-70 between Brazil, Indiana
and Wood River, Illinois
Monday July 10, 2000
Review by Mark Rothfuss
It only took 3 hours to drive to Noblesville, but it took an hour and a
half to get into Deer Creek. When will I ever learn? For some insane
reason, there is only one entrance into this large venue and traffic backs
up for 10 miles starting at about an hour before the show until about an
hour into the show. I mean "no movement at all" traffic. Same thing
happened to me during the Dylan/Simon tour last september. I was so extra
excited about this show in light of the previous shows on this tour, that
this delay cast an unfortunate black cloud over my whole evening. I
missed both Duncan and Brady, and Song To Woody (which I was dying to hear
in person). And I only caught the second half of Desolation Row. So
please keep in mind that my review may be a little biased. Under
different circumstances this could have been a real keeper. However, it
was reduced to an average show at best for me.
Baby Blue...time to put this one on the shelf. He seems to play it at 90%
of the shows I've seen (last night was show 31). Its slow, aimless, and
for the most part tossed off in rehearsal like fashion.
TUIB...good---turns to great when Bob breaks out the harp. Ragged and
dirty. The closing harmonica solo helps me to shake off some of my early
disappointment. Not an epic performance, but pretty damn good.
Searching for a Soldiers Grave...this was my first time hearing this one,
and while the soft spoken words were lost in the giant black void of this
massive outdoor venue, the vocals and instrumentation sounded sweet from
where I sat. I look forward to hearing it again on disc. He should
probably save this one for more intimate venues with less neo-hippies.
Country pie...good timin' fun. Loved the guitar interplay and the "Ahhhh
me, ooohhhh my". Bob dressed in black suit, red tie, and white shoes
boogied like it was 1955. He seemed in high spirits tonight. Yet I was
still feelin' pretty down.
Positively 4th Street...as with Baby Blue, I find the arrangement to be a
little to formless. These two songs always struck me as angry, passionate
songs. Under the current treatment they sound limp. Anyway, as soon as I
heard the opening chords I was looking at my watch wishing he would just
wrap it up and move onto the next song. The audience was politely
Maggies Farm....formless---errrr, but in a good way. Loose and rockin'!
The opening riff sounds a lot like the infamous Newport "electric"
version. He was all over the map on the lyrics, but the band was money
lovin' on the sound. Not memorable, but certainly an enjoyable
I dont believe you....almost enough to lift me out of my rut. I've been
seeing this one a lot lately and Im not complaining. His phrasing was
good, the guitars were good, it was all pretty good. Just not great. I
guess Im a little jaded having seen some real knock out versions.
Drifters Escape...WHOA! What the hell was that?!! INCREDIBLE. Sheer
ecstacy. Ive heard all about this version and can attest that it is
simply amazing. Suddenly I felt like the whole botched trip was worth it.
It was very different from anything else he does. It gave me a feeling
just like the first time I ever heard Bob. He is by far the greatest
performer of our time and halfway through a song like this you know it. I
mean you KNOW it! Bob toyed with the words. He manipulated the crowd. He
played the nastiest harmonica break of his career. It was fantastic! In
fact, I dare say God-like. And fortunately I just got some cd-rs today
which include the current arrangement. Its all ive listened to.
Pillbox hat...a slight let down after the glory of DE. But nonetheless it
got the job done. It was thumping, bumping, barn-burning blues. Hippy dips
and baby boomers danced alike.
Things Have changed....a personal first for me. Also, my current favorite
Bob song. Ive heard many versions and in comparision tonight's was a bit
sloppy. But for those people not in the trading mix Im sure it was great.
Everybody seemed to recognize it...or at least appreciate it. That alone
made me kinda happy.
LARS...pretty good rendering. He seemed to give it a fair degree of
attention. I know the crowd loved it. As always the house lights were
used to great affect.
Girl of the north country...vocals and instruments were turned down WAY
TOO low. I had to strain my ears just to hear his voice. Maybe its the
outdoor wind, or my seating position, but low sound levels were a problem
for me all night. Its hard to really get into a show if the sound isnt
shaking your body and ringing your ears. Or at least...errrr....audible.
One interesting note on this song though. Bob seemed to give David Kemper
a very dirty glare when the drums started going into boogie mode as Bob
was just stepping up to begin a new verse. The error was quickly
ameliorated. It could have been my imagination. I'll have to hear the cd.
HWY 61...was HWY 61. Rip-roaring fun. Nice guitar breaks and surprisingly
I only got 13 out of 16 songs. And the three I missed are some personal
favorites. If only Phil was opening like he should have been it all would
have been avoided. Blah, blah, blah. Enough complaining. The fact is I
got yet another chance to see Dylan and that is something I will never
take for granted. He is the master. I could have shown up during HWY 61
and still been better off than having not seen him at all. But lucky for
me I have Cincinnati tickets. Im sure that review will be from a far more
satisfied perspective. Maybe some kind soul will send me a disc of Deer
Creek and I'll finally get to hear those first few numbers.
Yours in Bob,
Review by Dave Miller
The scene at Deer Creek was very different from the previous night at Riverport
which found maybe 3 to 4,000 people in time to see Bob. Coincidental(?)
scheduling landed the b/p show at Deer Creek the night before a three
night Phish run, so when Bob took the stage he was greeted with an almost
capacity crowd. Bob responded almost instantly to the larger than normal
early crowd, in a much more animated and tighter performance than at this
venue last year or the previous night in St.Louis. Starting with "Duncan
and Brady" the band whipped through a very clean and applied acoustic set.
Worth noting was the strong reception given by the knowing crowd when Bob
played "Song to Woody". "Desolation Row" followed and contained very nice
solos thoughout, I wouldn't be suprised to hear Bob play this one to this
crowd every night. "Baby Blue" came next, and while slower than previous
versions, contained some very nice "lilting" steel pedal solos by Larry
Cambell. "Tangled Up In Blue" was finished with a strong harmonica solo
which continued to stir the still standing/dancing crowd. "Searching for a
Soldiers Grave" was very clean and concise tonight; a very nice song to
end the acoustic part of the show. "Country Pie" rocks!! Almost true to
Nashville Skyline in phrasing and style, this one is nice opener to
electric portion of the show. "Positively 4th Street" was a bit slow but
offered Larry Campbell another chance to display his prowess as a
multi-talented musician with more steel pedal solos through this song.
Very nice phrasing vocally in this one- Bob having fun with crowd here.
"Maggies Farm" came and the crowd was back dancing again- very good
version with Bob doing a lot of the solos here. A slower version of "I
Don't Believe You" was followed by "Drifter's Escape" I never invisioned
this song like this but love what they do with this song now-great energy
coming from harp in this song! Set closed with "Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat"
with nice interplay of strat solos between the three guitarists. "Things
Have Changed" started encore set and this song has a nice groove -nice
version tonight. Great version of "Like a Rolling Stone" tonight - crowd
joining in for chorus - yes "how does it feeeeeel" ? "Girl Of The North
Country" was very well played with soft intonation and phrasing lyrically.
Last it was time to blast the crowd with "Highway 61 Revisited" Charlie
Sexton and Larry Campbell showing why they are "Some of the finest players
in the country" -Incendiary solos by Charlie here. The crowd stood and
danced through the entire set and I never heard SIT DOWN!!! coming from
behind me as I heard throughout the evening in St.Louis. If you are
thinking of catching one of these shows with Bob and Phil do yourself a
favor and go EARLY!! Dave Miller
Review by Eriq Franecki
For several months I had been planning a sortof pilgrimage to Deer Creek
to see what was to be an amazing 3-day run of Phish(it was)...Later I
found out that promoters stuck a dylan/lesh show inbetween Phish's Alpine
show and the 3 day DC run...This turned out to be a very positive
move...while setting up my tent 2 fellows in a golf cart come over with
tickets for $26...(i like when tickets come to me)...a short walk later
we're in the show...looking around DC ifind a very nice theatre...the
screens can easily be seen from the sides...the sound is amazing(i could
actually understand dylan talking!)...onto the show...Dylan stepped out
onto stage to what i was feeling was a much larger then normal crowd for
the dylan/lesh tour...right from the bat dylan came out rocking with
Duncan and Brady...a new song to me, but it got the crowd rocking...next
came a very emotional Song to Woody (a highlite for me) which got a good
reaction for the crowd...Desolation Row brought the pace backup and
countinued to have many people still dancing...Baby Blue seemed a little
slow to me but was still good to hear....TUIB was the most jammed out Ive
ever heard Dylan play...the harp solo also added to this rocking
classic...Searching slowed the crowd down again..but it was very
heartfelt...Country Pie kicked off the electrical set with fine
fasion...Positively 4th St. was a song ive always wanted to hear...but
this new reworked version seems to have lost some of the spunk of the
origianl, but the lyrics are still great...Maggie's Farm got the crowd
going again as it is still easily rocked out...I Don't Believe You was in
classic form...Drifter's Escape had Bob bringing out his harp for the
second time that night...LSPBH was a classic tune that i always wanted to
hear and again had the crowd going...the encore included Things Have
Changed...a song new to me, but im starting to like it...LARS had the
phishhead and deadhead crowd singing along..even though Bob was teasing
them along the way...an accoustic Girl of the North Counrty recived a nice
welcome from the crowd and paved the way for Highway 61 Revisited which of
coarse had the crowd rocking out...overall im going to say this show is
tied for the best Dylan show ive ever seen...the crowd was mainly
phishheads that wanted to see Phil but most had a good time rocking with
Dylan...Dylan fed off the large nearly-sold out crowd by jamming and
dancing all over the stage...this first round of the 4-day affair at DC
was a great begining to a great week...i never stopped dancing for 5 days
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